I have always loved the United States Postal Service. Receiving letters (excluding bills and unnecessary weekly mailers) in the mail has been on of the biggest joys of my life. I’ve relied on the Postal Service’s office to get my passport and send money to loved ones. USPS has been hit hardest by COVID-19: while package deliveries are up, mail volume is reportedly down by almost a third compared to this time last year. Businesses around the country have made cuts to mail advertisements and solicitations. As a result, the USPS’s revenue has tanked.
Last week, Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney, the chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform and Gerry Connolly, chair of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that COVID-19 is threatening the future of mail service.
“The United States Postal Service is in need of urgent help as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis,” the Representatives said. “Based on a number of briefings and warnings this week about a critical fall-off in mail across the country, it has become clear that the Postal Service will not survive the summer without immediate help from Congress and the White House. Every community in America relies on the Postal Service to deliver vital goods and services, including life-saving medications.”
USPS is not a government agency. Instead, it relies on fees rather than taxes (think of the extra dollar fee that is added on when you ship a package). Maloney and Connelly proposed a bill that would provide emergency funding (roughly $25 million). They said the funding would save the jobs of more than 600,000 Americans.
There is speculation why President Trump doesn’t want to fund the USPS. 2020 is an election year. With the rise and unpredictability of COVID-19, we could be quarantined for months which could lead to a lack of voting poll workers, accessible locations, etc. People will not line up to vote (see what happened last week with the Wisconsin Primary). The next best option is to vote by mail but… You can’t mail-in vote if there is no mail. Sure, there other mailing options. However, FedEx, DHL and UPS won’t deliver to some rural neighborhoods. The USPS is also a more affordable option- many low income Americans still depend on it for checks, services and other documentation.
So, dear reader, continue to use the USPS’s services- buy stamps online, send love letters in the form snail mail and thank your mail person for their commitment of service during the COVID-19 outbreak. Also, contact your US Representatives and Senators and let your voice be heard. Let’s not imagine a world, our country without the United States Postal Service.
(Oh- and I do love Postal Service, the band.)